Summer Camping Gear Playbook
With just a bit of preparation, few outdoor activities are more enjoyable and relaxing than camping. And spending time miles away from civilization is a great way to unwind, kick back and enjoy the simple pleasures, like roasting marshmallows over a glowing campfire or gazing up at a starry sky.
One of the benefits of camping is that you can head out on an adventure with very little gear to get started. But, it’s also nice to have a comfortable, cozy and convenient campsite. As you become a more experienced camper, you may find that part of the fun is adding to your camp kit.
So, whether you are a beginner or someone who is looking to add to your camping gear collection, we have put together a list of tested products that earned their way onto our favored list and should get you excited about sleeping outdoors.
Kelty Trail Ridge Tent
The Kelty Trail Ridge tent is the key stone to any great camping experience. Kelty offers the Trail Ridge in four different sizes; 2, 3, 4 or 6 person to accommodate just about any size camping group you might have. The tent has a spacious interior with two easy entry D-style doors that allow for easy access with plenty of living space. It is incredibly easy to set up with the continuous pole sleeves and color coded clip and fly connections. Where the Trail Ridge really shines is when the sun goes down, stash a light in the night light pocket and it illuminates the whole tent or turn the lights out and use the Stargazing Fly to provide the perfect view to the night sky.
The spacious vestibules offer plenty of space to store soggy boots and other gear, so the crew doesn’t track mud into the tent. Vents in the fly keep the air in the tent from getting too stuffy and stale and the dual doors and noiseless zipper pulls offer an easy exit when you need to make the nighttime dash to the bathroom. And with its sturdy, waterproof design, you won’t have to worry when an unexpected storm threatens your camping trip.
- Freestanding Easy Setup design
- Color coded clip and sleeve construction
- Fully taped seams
- Gear Loft and Footprint included
- 2 doors – 2 vestibules
- Kelty Connect system
- Stargazing Fly
- Fly vents
- Noiseless zipper pulls
Therm-a-Rest Space Cowboy Sleeping Bag
Stack the odds in your favor to wake up ready to take on the day when you sleep in the Therm-a-Rest Space Cowboy Sleeping Bag. It’s crafted with eraLoft™ synthetic insulation to endure the rigors of backpacking and camping in variable conditions. This bag’s resilient polyester shell will stand up to seasons of abuse, while its synthetic insulation continues to insulate even if you set up on soggy ground. Designed with innovative Therm-a-Rest features like SynergyLink Connectors™ and Zoned Insulation, the bag is among the lightest and most packable in its class. The mummy-style bag compresses down to take up minimal room and comes in two outdoor-inspired colors. Ideal for everything from weekend camping trips to treks into the backcountry, this bag offers plush, lightweight comfort on cool summer nights.
- eraLoft Insulation
- SynergyLink Connectors
- Thermacapture Lining
- Zoned Insulation – Lightweight and packs small
- Quilt and Blanket Loops
- Snag-free zipper and cinchable hood
- Storage sack and compression stuff sack included
For more information visit thermarest.com MSRP $139-$159
Klymit Static V Sleeping Pad
Comfy as a Bed
Balancing a good night’s rest with lightweight packability is what the Klymit Static V pad does best. The Static V™ is the world’s first lightweight, packable air pad that incorporates body-mapping chambers for ultimate comfort. The internal construction is designed to provide maximum stability and comfort while minimizing weight and packed size. With an ample thickness of 2.5 in, and chambers designed to cradle you as you sleep, you might end up spending more time in your tent than originally intended. A twist pull valve saves on lung capacity while you’re setting up camp, and it deflates even faster if you sleep well past sunrise the next morning. The result – a pad that ensures side, back, and stomach sleepers are able to get the beauty rest they need in order to tackle the adventurous day ahead.
- Body Mapping Technology
- Side Rails
- Deep Weld Patterning
- Twist-Pull Valve
- Quick Inflation 10-15 Breaths
- Priced Right
- Klymit Lifetime Warranty
For more information visit klymit.com MSRP $55
Rumpl Puffy Blanket
Added insurance for chilly nights. The Rumpl Puffy Blanket is one of those items that should always be in your camp kit, with a multitude of uses, from extra warmth on cold nights, to ground coverage for picnics or even a pillow when it’s not needed as a blanket. It is ideal for camping and adventures with its durable ripstop material that can withstand rough outdoor surfaces, and while you are snuggled up under it in the chill of the early morning coffee indulgence, the water-repellent finish keeps you protected when that coffee misses your mouth. And when it’s time to leave, it easily packs into the included stuff sack and will be ready for wherever you are off to next.
- Light & Packable
- Signature Rumpl design aesthetic inspired by the patterns found in nature
- Synthetic insulation allows use in conventional front load washing and drying machines
- Durable and water resistant
- Odor and stain resistant
- Stuff sack included
For more information visit rumpl.com MSRP $129
Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repellent
Mosquito Force Field
The Thermacell Radius acts as a barrier between you and all those nasty mosquitoes that live in the wilderness. With the push of a button the Radius creates an approximate 100 square foot shield between your camp and the skeeters and lets you enjoy the scenery, breathe in all that fresh air, and relax knowing that you won’t be bothered by those buzzing pests. The easy-to-use Thermacell Radius Zone Mosquito Repellent is rechargeable, scent-free, compact, powerful, and operates with a single refill component.
- Push-button simplicity
- No mess
- Rechargeable and can operate while charging
- Automatic off timer mode
- Lasts up to 40 hours of operation on a single refill
For more information visit thermacell.com MSRP $50
Backpacker Mosquito Repeller
Want to go lighter weight and more backpack friendly, the Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller is the answer. It effectively repels mosquitoes by creating a 15-foot zone of protection. And being backpacker smart, utilizes the same camping gas canisters that backpackers and campers likely have in their bag already.
- Runs on a backpacking stove fuel canister
- Fuel efficient: up to 90 hours of run time on a 4 oz canister and up to 360 hours on a 16 oz canister
- Lightweight, minimalist design that shaves ounces and inches
- Dependable performance up to an elevation of 7,000 feet
For more information visit thermacell.com MSRP $40
Stinger On-the-Go Insect Zapper
Three Way Powered Zapper
The Stinger On-the-Go Insect Zapper attracts and kills flying insects using a replaceable 2-Watt black UV bulb and Stinger NOsquito Mosquito Octenol Replacement Lure. This insect zapper can be powered three different ways; using the included USB cord, with batteries, or USB with an electrical adapter. The product design includes light grey contrasting accents which aid in attracting mosquitoes during the day, however the Stinger has proven most effective after dark. If you are the type of camper who already brings all of the USB powered gadgets, the Stinger will fit right in, while kicking those bugs out.
- Portable, cordless zapper for on-the-go use
- Kills flying insects, including mosquitoes, gnats and no-see-ums
- 3 easy ways to power
- Lantern-only feature
- Clog-free kill grid design
- Made from durable, weather-proof plastic
- Stinger® NOsquito® Mosquito Octenol Replacement Lure
- Priced right
- 1 Year Warranty
For more information visit stingerproducts.com MSRP $20
Off Grid Tools
Sure the name might say Survival Axe, but in my camp kit it is the all in one camping tool. The Off Grid Tools Survival Axe is the ultimate outdoor multi tool, with 31 features, the tool will fully equip you for any situation that you will come across when camping. The design incorporates an all-steel full tang and axe head with an ultra strong, lightweight glass filled nylon handle. The resharpen-able hatchet blade is great for chopping up firewood and kindling. Equipped with a hammer head and claw for pounding in and removing tent stakes. The integrated, changeable 6″ bi-metal saw blade folds out of the handle, locks into place, and will saw through just about anything you need it to. The gas valve shut off wrench with integrated bottle opener saves the day in multiple ways. This incredibly versatile camping tool, is only 11 inches long and weighs in at just over 1.5 pounds. It is large enough to actually be useful, but compact enough to easily fit in with camping gear.
- Hatchet blade
- Tent Stake Hammer
- Tent Stake Puller
- Replaceable 6 inch thin kerf reciprocal saw blade
- Hex sockets 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 10mm, 11mm, 13mm, 15mm
- Bottle Opener
- Gas valve wrench
- Rubberized coated glass filled nylon handle
Available from amazon.com MSRP $39.99
OGT Survival Companion
Light It Up
Designed as the perfect complement to the Off Grid Tool Survival Axe this is the Everyday Carry that belongs on every camping trip. With 22 features in total, you can use the Survival Companion’s tungsten carbide ‘v’ sharpener to maintain the ax allowing you easily and efficiently chop and kindle firewood. While the magnesium and ferrocerium rods provide tinder and spark which burn at over 3000° to easy get the camp fire started. While these are the main three that prove useful every camping trip there are 19 other features that can also coming in handy when the need arises. Alongside the Survival Axe the Survival Companion is truly the do-it-all for every camping contingency.
- Fold out ferrocerium fire starter
- Magnesium tinder rods
- Carbide blade sharpener
Available from amazon.com MSRP $17.99
Pine Mountain ExtremeStart FireStarter
Easy Fire Starting
Do you every struggle getting that camp fire going? Did it just rain and all of the wood is wet? The Pine Mountain ExtremeStart firestarter is the simple solution that will get any fire started and make you look like a fire god on your first attempt. The ExtremeStarts are paper wrapped and perfectly portable, easily making it a no brainer to toss a couple in the camp bag. Allow yourself to enjoy a quick and easy fire with the simple strike of a match—anytime, anywhere.
- Camping Portable
- Easy to light
- Burns 20+ minutes
- Clean burning and odorless
For more information visit pinemountainfire.com MSRP $6.50 for 12 starts
For the mornings or afternoons when you don’t want to pull out the camp kitchen, the GreenBelly’s Meal2Go are the perfect solution. They are a truly ready-to-eat meal and a non-cook camping / backpacking food staple. Simply tear open the package and eat.
Each Greenbelly Meal pouch contains two meal bars that provide a whopping 650 calories AND a completely balanced nutritional profile. As in 33% of your Daily Nutrition for six core nutrients: Calories, Carbs, Protein, Sodium, Fats and Fiber. Weighing in approx 5.5 oz, these things will keep you full without slowing you down. They are all natural with fresh ingredients, and have a light and fluffy texture with whole chunks of fruits and nuts. Greenbelly Meals are easy, healthy, gluten free and taste amazing.
Available in Three Great Flavors
- Peanut Apricot
- Cranberry Almond
- Dark Chocolate Banana
For more information visit www.greenbelly.co MSRP $23 for 3 meals